Irish O'Reilly
Irish O'Reilly
Organization: Lewis University (IL)
Year: 2008 Inductee

The dean of Great Lakes Valley Conference baseball coaches, Irish O'Reilly spent 38 years in coaching including 29 seasons as head coach at Lewis University.

In 38 years as a head coach at the college, junior college and high school levels, O'Reilly compiled a 1246-916-8 record and retired as the eighth-winningest coach in NCAA Div. II history. He went 982-771-8 (.560) in 29 years at Lewis.

Thirty of O'Reilly's 38 teams enjoyed a winning season, and 23 of his teams reached NAIA or NCAA postseason play. His Lewis teams averaged 34 victories per season.

The Flyers established themselves as one of the nation's perennial Division II powers during the early years of O'Reilly's tenure. Lewis has placed among the top five at the NCAA Div. II Championship five times, including third place in 1988, 1990 and 1994, and won six Great Lakes Valley Conference titles.

O'Reilly coached Lewis to an NAIA national runner-up finish in 1980 when the Flyers won a school-record 61 games. He was named NAIA Area Coach of the Year.

O'Reilly often has been recognized for his team's success. He earned his sixth GLVC Coach of the Year honor in 1994 (he also won the award in 1985, 1986, 1987, 1990 and 1992) and also was named North Central Region Coach of the Year that season, the fifth time he has been voted top coach in the region.

Before arriving at Lewis in 1978, O'Reilly served four years as head baseball coach and director of athletics at Kankakee Community College. He amassed a 130-66 record and guided the 1974 team to seventh place at the NJCAA Tournament. O'Reilly previously had compiled a 134-79 ledger in five seasons at his high school alma mater, Bishop McNamara (formerly St. Patrick Central).

He was inducted into the Illinois State University Athletic Hall of Fame in 1983, the Illinois High School Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 1988, the Bishop McNamara High School Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2000 and the Lewis University Athletic Hall of Fame in 2016. Lewis University retired O'Reilly's No. 14 jersey in 2014.

O'Reilly served as the ABCA President in 2005, and is currently a member of the Board of Directors and Hall of Fame Committee. He previously served as chairman of the Division II All-America committee and spent nine years on the NCAA Div. II Baseball Championship Committee.